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Tech’s Eagles soar over Skyhawks, 49-20

TTU scores 35 points in second half Saturday

Published (Volume 77, No. 6)

Credit: TOM MARABLE / Tennessee Tech

Junior quarterback Brady Wahlberg runs around the block put up by Junior offensive lineman Jody Womble in Saturday’s game against Tennessee Tech. in Cookeville.

Credit: TOM MARABLE / Tennessee Tech

Tennessee Tech scored 35 second-half points against tennessee-Martin Saturday afternoon at Tucker Stadium as the Golden Eagles recorded a 49-20 Ohio Valley Conference win over the visiting Skyhawks.

Tech improves to 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the OVC race, while Skyhawks fall to 1-4 on the season and 0-2 in the league standings.

The Skyhawks return to the friendly confines of Hardy M. Graham Stadium Saturday, Oct. 9 for a homecoming battle against defending Ohio Valley Conference champion Jacksonville State. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.

The home game is the second of the season for the Skyhawks and their first since Sept. 9 when they hosted Tennessee State.
Forced to play catch-up in the second half, UTM marched 99 yards in seven plays for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Junior quarterback Brady Wahlberg hit sophomore wide receiver Taurean Stephens on a 17-yard pass. Stephens made a sliding catch in the end zone for the score.

The TD strike marked the seventh time this season Wahlberg and Stephens have connected for paydirt.

The touchdown cut Tech’s lead to 42-20 with eight minutes to play.

Tennessee Tech scored three third-quarter touchdowns to break open a one-point contest. Tech quarterback Robert Craft threw two touchdown passes, one to Brent McNeal for 11 yards and the other to Derek White for 78 yards.

With the completion to White, Craft became Tech’s all-time leading passer with more than 4,600 yards. He passed Grant Swallows (1998-01) who had 4,634 yards.

Big plays led to 13 UTM first-half points. The first of those big plays came when Rayvon Sims intercepted Tech’s Robert Craft on the Eagles first possession of the game.

Seven plays later Donald Chapman scored as he went over the top from one yard out.

The scoring drive covered 58 yards in seven plays and 2:47. The Skyhawks enjoyed a 7-0 lead until the 10:29 mark in the second quarter.

The second big play came in the closing minute of the first half when Sims, just a sophomore, returned a Tech kick 97 yards for a touchdown. The extra point failed and Tech enjoyed a 14-13 lead at the break.

Sims’ kickoff return was the longest Tennessee-Martin return for a touchdown since 1997 when Darriel Ruffin went 100 yards for a score against Murray State. Tony Champion also had a 100-yard kickoff return for Tennessee-Martin against West Georgia in 1983.